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SOMALIA: Senior politician boycotts parliament

General Jama Mohamed Ghalib, a senior politician from northwest Somalia, walked out of the first session of the Somalia Transitional National Assembly (TNA) held in Djibouti on Monday.

He protested that the host, Djibouti President Ismael Omar Guelleh, was violating his role by "interfering" in the selection process.

General Ghalib said the Djibouti government had refused to honour the list submitted by the northwestern Somalia delegation, and had instead forwarded another list, the Mogadishu-based paper 'Xog-Ogaal' reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, Ghalib said he was the spokesperson of the northwestern Somalia delegation. However, sources at the conference told IRIN that Ghalib - from the Issak sub-clan Ghahajis - wanted allocated seats to go only to those Issak who were present at the Djibouti-hosted conference. Ghalib is a former minister of interior and commissioner of police, sacked by ex-president Mohamed Siad Barre.

When the civil war broke out in 1991, he was a popular candidate for prime minister, but returned to the self-declared state of Somaliland when the south disintegrated into warring factions.

Poor relations with Somaliland leader Mohamed Ibrahim Egal led to him later forming an alliance with the late General Mohamed Farah Aideed.

SOMALIA: Weapon costs rise because of talks

While the shilling has strengthened against the dollar in Mogadishu because of political optimism over the Djibouti-hosted talks, the price of weapons has increased. Guns have reportedly increased in value because weapons dealers anticipate new fighting as a result of the power-sharing moves in Djibouti, AP reported.

Political optimism has been reflected by currency traders raising the value of the shilling from 9,800 to the dollar to 8,800, the lowest level since 1995, and the sharpest downfall since the United Nations forces abandoned Somalia early 1995.

But a Russian-made Kalashnikov assault rifle increased in price from US $130 at the weekend to US $200 on Tuesday, AP reported. Ammunition prices have increased from 15 cents a round to 25 cents.

A double-barrelled anti-aircraft gun has gone up from US $26,000 to $30, 000.



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